Athletics in 2024

At least five transgender athletes have won state championships in the same sport in the same season this spring. The male athletes who identify as transgender won the state girls track and field championships in five different states. Two victories came in the Pacific Northwest, while the other three occurred in New England. I wrote about the New England authorities for NewBostonPost.

Here’s a look at each of these five state champions, plus a few honorable mentions:

Aayden Gallagher – The sophomore won an Oregon School Activity Association Class 6A state championship in the 200 meters (23.82 seconds) – and boos followed. Gallagher made national headlines for the reaction to the male athlete’s victory. Whether you think calling out transgender athletes is appropriate or not, it’s not a surprise. Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose transgender male athletes participating on girls’ sports teams, according to a June 2023 Gallup Poll.

Veronica Garcia – Like Gallagher, Garcia won a state championship in the Pacific Northwest and received an icy response from the crowd and fellow competitors.

The junior won the 400 meters (55.75 seconds) at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Division 2A state championship meet last month.

“Garcia cheered and clapped for her competitors as they received their medals,” a story in said The spokesperson review said. “When the announcer called her to the stage, the crowd fell silent, and the other high school runners on stage did not acknowledge her as they stood with their hands clasped behind their backs.”

Maelle Jacques – The sophomore finished tied for first in the high jump at the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 3 (five feet) state championship meet last month. It was the athlete’s second state championship this school year; Jacques also won the high jump at the NHIAA Div. 2 girls indoor track championships in February (five feet and two inches). Jacques, also a goalkeeper in soccer, is a vocal opponent of HB1205 in New Hampshire. The bill, which is on Governor Chris Sununu’s desk, would ban men from participating in girls’ interscholastic sports for grades 5 through 12. Because New Hampshire has a small Republican trifecta, it is the only state that will soon have the could limit participation of transgender athletes.

Soren Stark-Chessa – Like Jacques, Stark-Chessa is a second-year student. Stark-Chessa won the 800 meters at the Maine Principals’ Association Class C state championship late last month. Stark-Chessa is a three-sport athlete who finished third at the girls cross-country and cross-country state championships this school year, illustrating why referring to transgender athletes as mediocre male athletes is a misnomer. That’s because on the boys’ side, Stark-Chessa competed at the same school under the same name as a freshman and was an objectively good athlete. The runner finished 12th in the boys 1,600-meter outdoor track at last year’s Class C state championships — the second-best performance for a freshman in the event. Competing on the girls’ side gave the runner an advantage and faced weaker competition, but we can’t pretend that Stark-Chessa isn’t athletic.

Lizzy Bidwell – After helping Conard High School win a team state championship in the 2023 outdoor season and winning all-New England in the high jump last winter, Bidwell won another title last month. The junior took the triple jump (36 feet, eight inches) at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL state championship meet. Bidwell is the third confirmed example of a transgender athlete winning a track and field championship in Connecticut. Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who graduated from high school in 2020, won 15 state championships together.

Honorable mention:

Lazuli Clark – A KIPP Academy girls basketball player made national news last winter for injuring three girls in one game, causing the other team to forfeit. The athlete is over 6 feet tall and has facial hair. My research for NewBostonPost revealed that the athlete was Lazuli Clark, a senior three-sport athlete. Clark was also an all-star in girls volleyball last fall. Clark threw a shot of more than 40 feet at last year’s Lynn All-City meet, but did not appear in an MIAA state championship last year or this year. That throw is good enough to win a state title in many divisions.

Chloe Barnes – In the 2022-2023 winter season, Barnes, then a junior, helped Brookline High School win a state championship for Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association indoor track teams; Barnes gave the team five points with a fourth-place finish in the 55-meter hurdles. That news went national after I announced it (TB Daily News initially revealed the athlete is male), and that was the last time Barnes competed in a state championship.

Barnes qualified for the state meet this spring, but did not compete for unknown reasons. Clark and Barnes deserve credit for missing their respective championship games.

Rose McNaughton – The 6-foot-4 junior finished third in the shot put at the CIAC Class S state championships last month. McNaughton is unlikely to win state championships, but the athlete is one of the better throwers at the girls side in connecticut.

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